AFRICA/NIGERIA - The IDPs in Maiduguri celebrate Christmas among hope and fears of suicide bombs

Monday, 29 December 2014

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri has been under siege for quite some time now with IDPs fleeing the violence of Boko Haram. This is what was experienced in Maiduguri, capital city of Borno State, in northern Nigeria where the streets are vehicle-free from December 25 to 28 in order to avoid any suicide bombings. Despite the fear of terrorist attacks, "the Catholic faithful went to Christmas Mass, majority of whom are IDPs from the Adamawa part of the diocese (Pulka, Madagali, Gulak, MichiKa, Mubi ) to express their faith in an eloquent manner" says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Director of Communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri.
Most of the 5,000 displaced persons welcomed in Maiduguri in fact come from the areas of Adamawa State which has fallen under the control of Boko Haram (see Fides 17/12/2014).
These people, recalls Fr. Obasogie "have no homes, cannot celebrate Christmas as usual with their relatives and friends and are forced to live in a state of hopelessness".
The Christmas message of the Bishop of Maiduguri His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme "was one of great consolation, that their sorrowful hearts was transformed into foundations of great bliss as he assured them of the fact that their names were written in the book of life in heaven even as they suffer pains and rejection on earth" says the Director of communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri.
Despite lack of security (also because they is widespread rumor of suicide bombers disguised as nuns ed.), Christmas was celebrated with great joy and faith in the city of Maiduguri" concludes Fr. Obasogie. We hope and pray that the forth coming national elections are carried out in a peaceful manner and that the threat of terrorism will soon be a thing of the past". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/12/2014)